Mayhew hire sparks FSA overhaul

The Financial Services Authority's (FSA) legal provision is to be overhauled following the appointment of Clifford Chance partner David Mayhew as leading advocate.

Long-serving litigation partner Mayhew, who is also a solicitor advocate, will join the FSA in May.

He is one of three senior counsel who will head the FSA's internal legal provision. He will be responsible for litigation and will work alongside Andrew Whittaker, who joined last year as general counsel to the board.

The remaining post, which is to oversee the regulatory elements of the FSA, is still vacant.

Mayhew tells The Lawyer that one of his first roles will be to look at the current levels of staffing and deciding what training is required.

But he adds: “There may be a need to recruit. I want to see what skill bases we have, what we want to develop and whether we need to recruit, although it will depend on the work flow.”

Mayhew will also look at the external advisers being used by the authority. A range of firms have worked for the FSA or related bodies in the past, including Clifford Chance, DLA and Stephenson Harwood.

“There'll probably be a need for some external lawyers and barristers, and that's something we have to develop,” says Mayhew. “But there will be a fresh start because the primary goal is to do it in-house.”

As a public body, costs will be particularly pertinent. Mayhew adds that the creation of a formal panel is unlikely.

As well as the FSA's litigious and legal needs, Mayhew will also focus on a range of other areas. These will include acting as senior legal adviser to enforcement case teams and advocacy training.

Although the contract is open-ended, Mayhew expects to remain in the post for a five-year period.

The FSA has recently undergone a massive restructuring. In 1998, following on from the Barings collapse, the responsibility for banking supervision was passed on to the FSA.

In the same year, the Financial Services and Markets Bill was introduced, which will amalgamate nine separate regulators into one body under the FSA.